This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
No garden can be said to be even partially complete without one or more of the clematis family. All are free growers, twining and climbing upon anything near them which offers a support. The flowers are mostly white, very abundant in August and September. Although deemed hardy, they all succeed better by being slightly covered in winter with some coarse litter.
Coreopsis Lanceolate is a perennial of so easy culture, and producing such a continued succession of flowers from early to late in the season, that although not generally esteemed as very handsome, you can not well do without it.
The Delphinums - common name, Larkspur - is a family varying exceedingly in its habits of growth as well as in its flowers. The Chinese - sinense - is slender, resembling the annual larkspurs in foliage, having blue and also white flowers. It is the best for small gardens.
Dianthus Barbatus, or Sweet William, although not a perfect perennial, yet often continues from year to year, and is so easily raised from seed, and so pretty in its endless varieties of colors in the flowers, that it must be, and generally is, in every garden. Choice seeds are imported each year, from which beautiful varieties are produced.
The Iris is a family of tuberous-rooted plants that are easy of culture, and bloom freely, with flowers of all colors, white, blue, yellow, etc.
The Lychnis Floscuculi, or Ragged Robin, is an old plant, common in every garden, and universally admired.
The Lychnis Chalcedonica, or London Pride, is another equally, perhaps, as well known and appreciated. Besides these, the varieties Vesicaria plena, and Vespertina are desirable. Of recent introduction is one called Haageana, said to be of dwarf, slender habit, with bright orange scarlet flowers nearly two inches in diameter, a free bloomer and showy.
The Oriental Poppy, Papava Orientalis, is one of the most magnificent of perennials. We have seen people leave their carriages at the roadside attracted by its splendor, and walk some distance in a gentleman's grounds to examine it. There are several other perennial poppies, some with white and some with yellow flowers, but while they are good, the Oriental is indispensable.
A few of these elegant climbing plants should be in every garden. Mr. Fuller, in his excellent article on the subject, in the "Record of Horticulture," says: "It is best to protect all of the varieties in winter, as they will bloom much more abundantly than if left exposed. A simple and very efficient method is as follows : In the fall, and just before the ground freezes, take the plants down and coil them around the base of the stakes, then throw on three or four inches in depth of coarse litter, such as straw or leaves, and over the whole place a few shovelfuls of soil. The plants should be uncovered in spring, soon after the frost is entirely out of the ground. It is but a few hours' work to protect in this manner a large number of plants, and the increase in the number of flowers will amply repay one for their trouble. To produce the best effect, the Clematis should always be planted in groups, placing a stake at each plant. The soil should be deep and moderately rich, one composed of equal parts of rich loam and leaf mold will be found to answer very well for these plants.
In the June number of the Horticulturist, page 187, you have called attention to the importance of protecting the Clematis during winter, as recommended by that excellent horticulturist Mr. A. 8. Fuller. The mode of planting, as recommended, in groups, is also good, especially when a little judgment and taste are used in arranging the plants - having due regard to color and vigor of growth.
My present purpose, however, is to draw attention to some of the beautiful new varieties that have appeared of late, and which may not be sufficiently known.
This beautiful variety is the result of a cross between Clematis Lanuginosa and Hendersonii; a lovely, hardy climber, with large flowers of a deep bright violet, a very vigorous grower and profuse bloomer. Only requires to be known to be extensively cultivated.
A similar hybrid to the above, and raised, like it, by Mr. Jack-man, but the parents were C. Lanuginosa and C. Viticella atrorubens, and differs chiefly in its intense narrow shaded reddish flowers, which are remarkable for their rich velvety appearance. Equally fine.
Clematis Fortunii - A very fine species from Japan, with large, showy flowers, which it produces in profusion, and are very striking at a considerable distance. Said to be much admired by the Japanese.
This fine plant is also from Japan, and one of the most beautiful of the family. The color of its flowers is rare and very beautiful - a kind of violet blue, with crimson and carmine shining through it.
Clematis Lanuginosa, - This beautiful species has been longer in cultivation than some of the above, yet not so generally known as it should be. There is also a fine white variety of this (Clematis Lanuginosa nivea), which will form an admirable contrast to the rich, deep-colored varieties.
Princess of Wales and Rubella are beautiful varieties, but yet scarce, and not sufficiently tested.